Many centuries ago it was the norm for Grandparents never to meet their grandkids, but with the increase in healthcare and life expectancy they have slowly become a huge part of family life. This progressed to family networks then living in the same town or village, or in some cases, street together. Today this isn’t as common, especially with the job market being so competitive in the midst of the recession, families tend to go where work takes them, and divorce rates are also very high. However the government has realised the importance of bridging that generation gap between Grandkids and Grandparents.
Here at labels for kids we have different situations, one family has one set of grandparents in the local area, regularly meeting at their house on a Sunday for dinner, but with the other set of Grandparents half way round the world, making it harder to keep in constant contact with each other (although they seem to do very well with weekly calls or e-mails). I have moved away to study, however when I go back home I have 2 sets of grandparents at the top of the street, an Auntie and Uncle at the bottom of the street and my other Auntie and Uncle at the other end of the village. Just 2 examples there of different family units, however both are as close as the other, keeping in regular contact.
Advocates of the new schemes popping up all over the country claim that increased time spent together (especially between Grandkids and Grandparents) results in a reduced fear of crime, better understanding and tolerance of others, less social isolation and a stronger community. Projects range in skills and stretch from members of a 50+ forum being taught computer skills by students at local colleges, a reading project involving mixed generations, and a DVD made collectively by older people and teenagers to challenge stereotypes. The gym and fitness options seem to be a popular and brilliant idea. With the government promoting healthy living some centres are running Zumba lessons for all generations to partake in, same with table tennis (which seems extremely popular with father-son/ granddad-grandson combos)
We think this is a great idea to keep fit, learn new skills and most importantly to keep that family bond strong, you’ve only got one at the end of the day
To read more or to find a scheme near you visit, www.bhf.org.uk/hmgenerations